True beginnings in nature: four generations of campers

Today’s post comes from Rebecca van Massenhoven, a Learn to Camp leader at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.

In 1951, at the age of forty, my great-grandmother crossed the Atlantic Ocean with her family on the ocean liner The Volendam. She wanted a better future for her family, and moved to Canada in search of this dream.

I can still recall her burning curiosity about the world around her. From spiders to birds, she loved learning about nature and often spent time sharing this passion with the family. As a child, I sat in her bay window watching the birds that came to her feeder as she told me about them as if they were her dear old friends.

My story truly began with my great-grandmother’s passion for the environment. In each of the four generations that have come to call Canada home, we continue to foster her love of the natural environment as our own.

Continue reading True beginnings in nature: four generations of campers

Quetico’s wilderness voices

Today’s post comes from Jill Legault, an information specialist at Quetico Provincial Park.

Quetico’s oral histories have been locked away on archival cassettes at the John B. Ridley Research Library — until now.

Courtesy of history enthusiasts from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, they have come out of the vault and into our ears.

Continue reading Quetico’s wilderness voices

Working at Pancake Bay Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Kathleen Boston, a Discovery Leader at Pancake Bay Provincial Park. 

Three years ago, I applied to spend my summer working at Pancake Bay Provincial Park. It was one of the best decisions I ever made!

Thankfully I was chosen to work as a gate attendant for my first year. In my second year I moved to the maintenance department, and now, in my third year, I am part of the Discovery Program team.

Continue reading Working at Pancake Bay Provincial Park

Behind the scenes: from curious camper to Discovery staff at Lake Superior Provincial Park

In our “Behind the Scenes” series, Discovery Program staff across the province share a “backstage” glimpse of their favourite programs and projects. Today’s post comes from Jordan Welch and Kelly Taylor, Discovery Program staff at Lake Superior Provincial Park

We have all been asked the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

We tend to make the decision based on the experiences we have. For some, it’s school; for others, it’s travel. Perhaps even friends and family help in deciding a career path. We went outside.

Continue reading Behind the scenes: from curious camper to Discovery staff at Lake Superior Provincial Park

The life of a resource steward

Today’s post comes from Rebecca Rogge, a travelling resource steward for the Northeast Zone.

I first started working for the Northeast Zone Resource Steward Program back in 2011. It seems like a lifetime ago.

At the time, it was a relatively new job in Ontario Parks. The program had only been around for a few years, and few of us existed.

Several parks were created in 1999, the majority of which were “non-operating” provincial parks. They generally do not have facilities or dedicated staff. Many protect recreational waterways and nature reserves protect rare flora, fauna and geological landscapes.

This is where we, the resource stewards, spend most of our time. In these wonderfully beautiful and diverse places.

Continue reading The life of a resource steward

Happy World Ranger Day

Ontario Parks staff tackle a huge array of tasks and challenges.

Our days are diverse. You might find us researching rare species, applying First Aid to injured guests, maintaining safe and healthy water systems, building a boardwalk, or welcoming families to a busy campground.

We’re stewards of our province’s most treasured natural resources. We’re educators, instilling a love of nature in new generations of Ontarians.

Internationally, World Ranger Day celebrates their wonderful work protecting our parks, and commemorates park rangers killed or injured in the line of duty in park organizations with high-risk activities.

We’re proud to keep our parks safe and welcoming to visitors, while protecting our amazing natural world.

Take a look at just a few of our everyday heroes:

Continue reading Happy World Ranger Day

5 conversations to have with your child before your next camping trip

Racing around the campground with brand new friends. Building sandcastles on the beach. Roasting marshmallows over the campfire.

Some of our best childhood memories are made in parks.

Before you pack your little ones into the car for your next family vacation, here are five conversations to make sure your trip is as safe as it is fun!

Continue reading 5 conversations to have with your child before your next camping trip

Darlington’s daring wetland restoration

In today’s post, Zone Ecologist Corina Brdar shares the exciting restoration story that’s been unfolding at Darlington Provincial Park.

There’s nothing like seeing an idea turn into reality, is there?

Especially when the idea is an enormous one, and it takes tons of cooperation from all kinds of players.

Continue reading Darlington’s daring wetland restoration

How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?

Preserving ecological integrity is a priority for all of us here at Ontario Parks. But just what does ecological integrity look like? Algonquin Provincial Park Naturalist David LeGros explains…

When I start many of my evening programs at Algonquin, I often ask the audience if they like nature.

Usually I get a lot of hands up in the air, but there are always a few that don’t put their hands up. I tell those people, “You might be in the wrong place, because Algonquin is crawling with nature.” I know these folks may have not been paying attention to what I was saying or chose not to participate in my survey, but it always gets a laugh from the crowd.

However, this did get me thinking about why we go to parks over staying home or visiting a big city…

Continue reading How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?